Inhalants

Know the facts, connect with resources, and get one-on-one support to help you address known or suspected use of inhalants with your child.

What are some slang terms for inhalants?
Gluey, Huff, Rush, Whippets

What are inhalants?
Inhalants are ordinary household products that are inhaled or sniffed by children and young teens to get high. There are hundreds of household products on the market today that can be misused as inhalants.1

What do inhalants look like?
Examples of products used to get high include model airplane glue, nail polish remover, cleaning fluids, hair spray, gasoline, the propellant in aerosol whipped cream, spray paint, fabric protector, air conditioner fluid (Freon), cooking spray and correction fluid.

How are inhalants used?
These products are sniffed, snorted, bagged (fumes inhaled from a plastic bag), or “huffed” (inhalant-soaked rag, sock, or roll of toilet paper in the mouth) to achieve a high. Inhalants are also sniffed directly from the container.2

What do young people hear about inhalants?
Within seconds of inhalation, a person experiences intoxication along with other effects similar to those produced by alcohol.

What are the risks of using inhalants?
Effects may include slurred speech, an inability to coordinate movements, dizziness, confusion, delirium, nausea and vomiting. In addition, inhalants may cause lightheadedness, hallucinations, and delusions.

Long-term use can lead to compulsive inhalant use and a mild withdrawal syndrome. Additional symptoms caused by long-term inhalant use include weight loss, muscle weakness, disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression. After heavy use of inhalants, a person may feel drowsy for several hours and experience a lingering headache. Because intoxication lasts only a few minutes, people using inhalants often seek to prolong their high by continuing to inhale repeatedly over the course of several hours. Doing this can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Prolonged inhalant use can cause damage to the parts of the brain that control thinking, moving, seeing, and hearing. Possible effects can range from mild impairment to severe dementia.2

What are some signs of inhalant use?

  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to coordinate movements
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hallucinations and delusions
1NIDA. “Inhalants.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/inhalants. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018.
2NIDA. “Commonly Abused Drugs Chart.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#inhalants. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); National Library of Medicine

Next Steps

Help us ensure every parent has access to free, compassionate support and resources they desperately need.
Donate Now through Giving Tuesday >>